Under-18 manager demands more
Mark Robinson said that young players at AFC Wimbledon must work harder to prove that they can make the grade after Saturday’s defeat against Peterborough United.
Though the young Dons were only narrowly beaten 3-2 and had far from a full-strength side out due to injuries, Mark is demanding more application from his squad on a daily basis.
“These lads are at a club where everyone wants the youth to be a success,” said Mark. “They have a team-mate who has not long turned 16 and he is involved with the first-team every day. They have seen 17-year-olds make their debuts and other academy products train with the first-team every day. That simply does not happen at many clubs. If that’s not an incentive to come in every single day and be the most enthusiastic learner you can possibly be, then some of them need to have a long, hard look at themselves.”
The young Dons fell behind after just one minute on Saturday when Kweku Lucan finished clinically after a quick break from the visitors. A good response did follow from Wimbledon with Toyosi Olusanya and Antonio Walker both going close. Impressive 15-year-old Tino Carperne also had a good shot well saved, but that was only a temporary reprieve for Peterborough. Neset Bellikli, who had been a constant threat down the wing, latched onto a pass from Dan Ano, before cutting inside and finding the net with a brilliant finish from 18 yards.
minute. The Dons did gain a great share of possession though during the remainder of the first-half with 15-year-old Anthony Hartigan impressing in midfield. A ruthless edge was lacking though with George Marchant, Olusanya and Carperne all missing chances.thThat should have been the signal for Wimbledon to push on, but poor defending allowed Lucan to net his second in the 24
Though Wimbledon spent the majority of the second-half camped in Peterborough’s half, the visitors scored a killer third when the hosts failed to deal with a long ball and Deon Moore made no mistake.
There was still time though for the Dons to hit back when Olusanya earned a penalty and Reece Williams-Bowers slotted home from 12 yards. However, when trying to retrieve the ball quickly the goalscorer collided with a post and he had to go off injured. That meant Wimbledon played out the remainder of the game with 10 men and an equaliser proved beyond them.
Mark Robinson added: “With so many injuries, the team selection is swapping regularly and training with 12-14 players is not always easy in terms of team play, but certainly all the foundation for our off the ball work was done months ago. When I step the Under-16s up they follow the same curriculum and principles so the transition should be seamless. However, there is a definite issue with the boys as a group in terms of retaining information. One week they will nail something, then two weeks later you are working on it again because the standard has dropped.
“The players in the team need to show that they are retaining this information and the others need to be learners and make sure they nail it when opportunities come their way. On the ball we caused them lots of problems and apart from our poor finishing the players showed lots of quality in their build-up play. However, if we are saying that our defensive principles were not good enough and we were not ruthless enough in front of goal, the outcome is a pretty obvious one.”
Man of the match for Wimbledon was Toby Sibbick.